Comics Guaranty, LLCNumismatic Guaranty Corporation
November 2003  
 
Version 2, Issue 7  
   
1. Star Spangled Comics
   
2. Thrillkill
   
3. Las Vegas Comic Con
   
4. Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon
   


UPCOMING EVENTS

Nov. 21-23
Wizard World Dallas

Dallas, TX


Nov. 28-30
National Big Apple Convention

Metropolitan Pavilion
New York, NY


Nolan's Niche Star Spangled Comics
Michelle Nolan

In retrospect, Star Spangled Comics has not enjoyed the respect the title deserves considering its status as a long-running successful Golden Age anthology.

In one respect Star Spangled – for some reason National Comics did not hyphenate the title –was the company's last link to the Golden Age. By the time the last issue, #130 (July 1952) appeared, the only other Golden Age titles left at DC were destined to survive all the way into the Bronze Age and in some cases beyond.

Star Spangled, though, was converted into one of DC's first three war titles. By the 1960s, during the dawn of comic fandom, the original run of Star Spangled had been largely forgotten, even though it was one of DC's fabulous "Big Eight" monthly anthology titles.

Star Spangled was the seventh anthology to arrive on the Golden Age scene, with #1 (Oct. 1941) soon followed by the eighth, Sensation #1 (Jan. 1942). Star Spangled outlasted all but Action, Adventure and Detective.

If you want the best examples of Star Spangled, you should best ignore the first six issues and start with #7 (April 1942) – a genuine collectible with debuts of Simon & Kirby's dynamic Newsboy Legion/Guardian series along with Robotman and T.N.T. with Dan, the Dyna-Mite. Only two super heroes appeared in the first six issues – Star Spangled Kid (with Stripesy) and Tarantula, but you also get those worthy fellows in #7-19.

The Newsboy Legion and their partner the Guardian, who beat S&K's Boy Commandos to the newsstands by two months with Detective #64 (June 1942), were pure Golden Age fun at its dynamic best, courtesy of the frenetic approach to storytelling of the inimitable S&K. The covers were all great examples of Golden Age storytelling.

Every Golden Age collector should try to get at least a couple of issues of Star Spangled #7-19, but they won't come cheap. Issue #7, valued at $637 in "good" in the Overstreet Price Guide, may be out of reach of many collectors and the others all run in the $125-250 range, even in "good."

Tarantula, an intriguing backup strip, bowed out in #19 (April 1943) as one of the first DC heroes to vanish. T.N.T. and Dan followed into the comic book in #23 (Aug. 1943). By then, though, there was a more interesting character to follow – Liberty Belle, the All-American Girl, who made her debut in #20 (May 1943).

Liberty Belle appeared only in Star Spangled during the Golden Age, but she had a respectable run for a patriotic backup costumed hero – 49 consecutive stories. She last appeared in #68 (May 1947), to be replaced in #69 by Tomahawk. Liberty Belle was that rare backup feature treated with total respect –she appeared in 10-page stories except for a few 9-pagers. Ideally, to balance out your Star Spangled collection, you need a couple of issues with Liberty Belle.

Robin, the Boy Wonder, began appearing solo in Star Spangled #65 (Feb. 1947), replacing the Newsboy Legion, who never achieved the overall popularity of the Boy Commandos. Batman made several cameo appearances with his young partner and also appeared in standard Batman/Robin action in #88-94 stories that could just as easily have appeared in Detective. For some reason, those seven issues of Star Spangled can be tough to find, along with other issues numbered in the #80-87 range.

Robotman bowed out of Star Spangled in #82 (July 1948), switching to Detective to make room for Captain Compass, one of DC's least memorable anthology characters unless you love sea stories.

Stripesy, one of the worst of DC's Golden Age characters, last appeared in the Star Spangled Kid strip in #81, to be supplanted by Merry, Girl of 1,000 Gimmicks in #82. In turn, she took over the Star Spangled Kid strip in #84 and began appearing on her own in #87. Her short run ended in #90 (March 1949), just one more victim, albeit little known, of DC's costume hero purge.

Your best bet, then, is to get Star Spangled #88, 89 or 90, since you have rousing Batman and Robin stories, along with tales of Merry, Tomahawk and Captain Compass providing a good feel for the changes the title underwent.

Robin's last cover appearance was #95 (Aug. 1949), to be supplanted by a long series of highly attractive Tomahawk covers on #96-121. Some of those covers alone make a few issues worth collecting.

Otherwise, your best bet is to pick up at least a couple of issues of Star Spangled #122-130, all of which feature nifty eight-page stories of Dr. Thirteen, the Ghost-Breaker, one of DC's best supernatural-story types. All of those final nine issues of Star Spangled are pretty tough to find, especially #130. They also feature the final solo appearances of Robin along with Tomahawk, who gained his own title in 1950.

Dr. Thirteen was a nifty character, but perhaps a bit too close in hoax-breaking theme to Detective's long-running Roy Raymond, who lasted into the Silver Age.

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Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon

Amazing top-notch A-List artists + a huge room full of comic book dealers selling tons of comics + throngs of excited and loyal fans = The Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon. Of course, CGC was there in the thick of it and enjoying every minute, doubling submissions from the last show which was in Toronto. Our submissions weren’t just doubled in total volume of books, but we also easily doubled the number of different customers that submitted their comic books and comic magazines to us! The prestigious CGC Signature Series took off at the show and accounted for almost half of our total submissions.

Convention organizers, Peter Dixon and Kevin Boyd, set up a great show that included a charity auction on Saturday night that raised over $4,000 (Canadian dollars) for The Canadian Children’s Help Line, The North York Harvest Foodbank and A Commitment To Our Roots (ACTOR). Following the auction, CGC Forum Members went to what has fast become a convention event, the CGC Forum dinner.

L to R: comicmanager, ecfanman, plitch, paradisecomics,
Jim Starlin, kevthemev, hogations, DAM60, AlexH
"We are very pleased with how the show went. Everyone had a lot of positive things to say. We are very relieved that the dealers that came from the States like Harley Yee and Koop’s Comics did so well," said Peter Dixon. Another Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon is scheduled for June 2004.

"I'm really happy with the feedback that I've been getting from the fans, dealers and guests at Comicon. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are strongly encouraged not to give up. I think we really connected with the committed comic book fans in Toronto and I'm really glad that CGC was able to be a part of it. The first three questions we were asked about the convention were 1) When is it? 2) What guests will be there? and 3) Is CGC going to be there," said Kevin Boyd after the show. Knowing Peter Dixon and Kevin Boyd’s keen eye for detail and their knowledge of what makes for a great show, next year’s show will not be one to miss!

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cgc registry

Thrillkill
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

To continue from last month’s article, Creepy #91 has been a landmark comic magazine, in my collecting opinion, since I first laid eyes upon it. I had recently discussed most of the stories inside except for one, but as they say, save the best for last; or in this case, the worst.

"Thrillkill" is by far the scariest Warren story I’ve read to date. Yet there are no monsters, no ghosts, nothing that goes bump in the night. In lieu of recent events outside the Washington, D.C. area, it’s the numbing sense of realism and unfortunately an even more disturbing sense of familiarity that brings this story to life. This is a tale of a young man named Bobby Lang who unleashes a terrorizing sniper rampage on the city streets of Seattle. The concept of the story, though disturbing, is straight forward, but it’s the narrations above each of the chillingly rendered illustrations that make this an effective and original read.

Written by Jim Stenstrum and illustrated by Neal Adams, the story is about a young man named Bobby Lang who positions himself atop a building and unleashes a maelstrom of raging gunfire upon hapless pedestrians during the city’s rush hour. Though no word balloons are used, two characters, an investigating police officer and an ex-minister, narrate the story simultaneously through an interview. As the story continues, the reader comes to find Bobby as a victim of a poor upbringing, a boy who only found love and refuge in group activities, thus growing dependant on his involvement with other people and less with his own family. His mother was an alcoholic, his father a physically and emotionally abusive figure.

Bobby sought advice and tutelage from his minister, Mr. Wickerin, but Wickerin, having his own unconventional views of the church and state, couldn’t help Bobby. Instead, Mr. Wickerin eventually left the ministry, leaving Bobby to figure out his path on his own. As the interview progresses, the panels depict the brutal nature of the shootings which are skillfully and frighteningly rendered by Neal Adams.

When the police shoot him down at the close of the story, it is then revealed that Bobby just wanted a way out – a personal escape, but an escape that would not be made alone. In the end, Bobby was already damned on Earth, for his life here was his own personal hell, and his death, the perfect escape.

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Las Vegas Comic Con

The very first Extrosion, the Las Vegas Comicon, was hosted in the amazing Mandalay Bay Resort and CGC was there in full force as a sponsor.

Before the doors had opened to the public, CGC had received some great submissions. The show was buzzing due to some amazing local television coverage that interviewed Diamond International Galleries President John K. Snyder, Jr. During the interview, Mr. Snyder, on behalf of Steve Geppi, offered a cool million dollars for an unrestored Universal 9.4 copy of Action Comics #1. CGC was mentioned throughout the television interview and some of our certified product graced the airwaves.

The CGC staff was kept busy answering questions and helping our customers with their submissions at the CGC Submission Center. We signed up some new Member Dealers like Hobby Monkey from Rocklin, California, and were happy to help them with their very first submission. It was great to hear praise from everyone we met and to see the smiles on their faces when they left our booth.

Vincent Zurzolo, Jr. of Metropolis Collectibles, a CGC Charter Member, was very enthusiastic about the outcome of the show saying, "Metropolis had a great show. We made some big sales and are looking forward to coming back next year. For their first attempt it was a really solid show that will only get better."

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